Graham admitted at last weekend's Pro Bowl that he "barely practiced" during the 2016 season, Liz Mathews of USA Today reports.
After suffering a torn patellar tendon in Week 12 of his first campaign in Seattle, Graham faced an uphill battle to regain even a semblance of his former standing among the top tight ends in the NFL. Indeed, he didn't make an appearance last preseason and earned just 17 of 82 offensive snaps in the 2016 season opener. Ramping up his workload as the weeks ticked by, he notched the first of three 100-yard efforts in Week 3 and scattered six end-zone visits throughout a complete 16-game slate. The preceding was possible due to Graham's regular appearances on the injury report, typically due to non-injury, suggesting that rest was the recipe for his success. There's no telling if this is his high-water mark as a Seahawk, but he will turn 31 in November, meaning he could be hard-pressed to replicate a 65/923/6 line due to a combination of his age and medical history.
Graham capped off an impressive 12-play, 89-yard drive on the game's opening possession with a seven-yard scoring reception, but he was essentially a non-factor the rest of the way. That was a theme that seemed far too common this season for a player the caliber of Graham, who tallied between just one and three catches in seven games during the regular season. The seventh-year pro may have been indirectly affected by Russell Wilson's health concerns during the campaign, which led to several sub-par outings for the Seattle offense overall. Graham finished the 2016 season, his second in Seattle, with 65 receptions (95 targets) for 923 yards and six touchdowns over 16 games.
Graham hauled in three of four targets for 37 yards in Saturday's 26-6 wild-card victory over the Lions.
The play-making tight end was relatively quiet on the night compared to fellow pass-catchers Doug Baldwin and Paul Richardson, who both turned in memorable performances. However, Graham's final reception of the night stood out, as his 10-yard catch on third down with 9:33 remaining in the game brought the ball to the Lions' four-yard line, setting up a Thomas Rawls touchdown run a play later. Despite the modest output Saturday, Graham could well play a key role in next Saturday's divisional round playoff against a Falcons squad that surrendered 11.5 yards per reception to the tight end position this season.
Graham did the bulk of his damage late in the first half on a 42-yard deep ball in which he returned to his basketball roots and boxed out the San Francisco defenders. Graham has run anywhere from lukewarm to cold down the stretch, having failed to reach 70 yards receiving in a game since Week 9. He gets a favorable matchup in the playoff opener against a Detroit team that has surrendered nine touchdowns to tight ends this season, the fifth most in the league.
Graham has been a victim of circumstance recently, totaling four receptions on nine targets in the last three games. The
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